Lou Thesz is credited with innovating several wrestling moves that would become common place, the German suplex being the most common, the power bomb perhaps being the most popular, but the Thesz Press being the most obvious.
In 1934, the Masked Marvel gimmick made its way to Mexico in then fledgling promotion EMLL. Mascara Maravilla was so popular more masked luchadors such as El Santo were promoted by Salvador Lutteroth. El Santo himself became so popular that the entire "Lucha Libre" subculture was pretty much kicked off by him.
The National Wrestling Alliance forming collaborative agreements between pro wrestling organizations all over the world lead to The International Wrestling Association in an effort to compete against what was basically a giant wrestling trust to any "outlaw" promotions not allowed to joinnote the Puerto Rican and Japanese companies of the same name were unaffiliated with both. Later came the Independent Wrestling Association (starting with IWA Mid-South), The Allied Independent Wrestling Wrestling Federations, Pro Wrestling International and The World Wrestling League, who while not as close to the NWA model, still owe their existence to the concept it started. The World Wrestling Network and Global Pro Wrestling Alliance are even further from the original mold but still pay respect to the NWA.
While the term was already in use, Gorgeous George pretty much became the progenitor of The Gimmick in professional wrestling as we know it in 1950. Although, many of his more successful imitators, such as Buddy Rogers, weren't actually examples of the trope he named. Rogers himself was different enough to spawn his own "Nature Boy" archetype, Ric Flair being the most famous. Ironically, despite all this, George did not actually invent The Gimmick, he merely copied the look of another wrestler named Lord Patrick Lawnsende and took it Up to Eleven as an elegant, effeminate spectacle.
Pro wrestling in Japan had been restricted to sideshow acts for other events and dedicated clubs until Rikidozan decided to emulate the territorial promotions he had found in the USA with the JWA in 1953. A year later the promotions that would come to be known as "Joshi" sprung up in response to a WWWA tour, though only All Japan Womens Pro Wrestling survived after the fad had died down. Fifty years later, the latter would come full circle with SHIMMER and Anarchy Championship Wrestling seeking to revive the USA women's scene by taking cues from joshi.
The establishment of All Japan Pro Wrestling is where wrestling promoters not only resigned themselves to fans throwing streamers for the baby faces but actually encouraged such.
In the late 1970s, when "Superstar" Billy Graham defeated the then-perennially popular Bruno Sammartino for the WWF Championship and held onto the title for the better part of a year. While Graham remained a heel during his first title run and wasn't necessarily cheered by the audience, he was a lot more charismatic and amusing than most of WWE's faces at the time, proving that wrestling heels could do a lot more than just anger the crowd and make the faces look good. Not only did Graham eventually turn face, but his costume and gimmick were more or less copied by Jesse Ventura, Hulk Hogan, Scott Steiner and other famous wrestlers, and his Lovable Rogue persona was a profound influence on Eddie Guerrero - whom Graham personally admired - and others.
Since Shawn Michaels became the massive legend that he is after breaking off from his partner Marty Jannetty, it seems the main purpose of a tag team sometimes is to find out which member will become a mega star and which one, well…won't. WWE alone has tried this so many times to varying results in the years since the Rockers that two or three people would be necessary for enough hands and fingers to count them all.
The Universal Wrestling Association and Lucha Libre Internacional in Mexico starting a trios division lead to CMLL starting one of its own, while WCCW also followed suit in the USA with its "World Six Man Tag Team Titles". The NWA, which had already tried and scrapped the idea were even willing to try again after Los Tres Fantasticos took off.
Starrcade was a show made for the pro wrestling fans who spent the most money, namely those in the Carolinas and, to a lesser extent, Georgia. The 1986 million dollar gate was unprecedented for a pro wrestling event in North America, but JCP's upper management didn't fully appreciated what they had and ended up tweaking the show to be more like WrestleMania, hoping to displace it as the USA's premier pay per view. This not only angered fans who would have otherwise kept spending money to attend the show and cost more to produce but also failed to make a mark in the pay per view market due to Vince McMahon successfully intimidating most networks into not running Starrcade.
After the arrival of Hulk Hogan, from 1994-1996, WCW revamped themselves into "WWF Lite", until the arrival of Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. And the rest is history... Before that, WCW head booker Jim Herd decided to try and mimic the WWF's success with the "Rock 'n Wrestling Connection" by tying WCW to another aspect of pop culture — namely, movies. Fortunately, he dropped that idea after the first shots, a wrestler based on The Wizard of Oz and a Pay-Per-View appearance by RoboCop, failed miserably, but it wasn't Herd's first bad idea, and definitely not his last. Ironically, the WWF actually had much more success with this concept, as several of their most successful gimmicks prior to the Attitude Era were based on movies. Most noteable was Scott Hall's Razor Ramon character, who was based on Tony Montana
Like FMW before it, the success of ECW led to the founding of a number of other "hardcore" and "deathmatch" wrestling federations(IWA M-S, XPW, 3PW, CZW), and no less an organization than the WWF followed their lead. WCW tried to foster a backlash to this, painting themselves as a "family-friendly" wrestling show, but they soon jumped on the bandwagon after that posture failed. After all, how "family-friendly" can a show about people beating the snot out of each other be?
Ring Warriors was the first promotion to stream shows online, and though it did not find success in its target market(USA) for about fifteen years, it beat the local national promotions in Africa and Europe. Ice Ribbon's 19'Oclock was perhaps the first internet streaming show to find success in its actual target market, as well as overseas.
Naturally with the success of the New World Order every fed in the universe even your local mom and pop indy needed to have a stable trying to take over the company. One of the nWo's first imitations, D-Generation X, was also one that was the least like it. Let that sink in. Every fed including the mom and pop indy also needs to do an evil scheming authority figure whose sole reason for existing seems to be making life miserable for the babyface du jour. Naturally said babyface is almost always a badass nineties anti hero.
Similar to the case of Billy Graham, the Attitude Era of the late 90s the likes of The Rock and Stone Cold popularised the anti-hero in wrestling so that for a good while it wasn't just faces vs heels, it was more like heels that got booed vs heels that got cheered.
It may be hard - even all but impossible - to believe now, but as late as 1995, the women of WWF were a lot more prim and proper than their male counterparts, especially when it came to the costumes they wore; when Miss Elizabeth, Randy "Macho Man" Savage's manager, whipped off her skirt at the inaugural SummerSlam in 1988, resulting in a (modest by current standards) Panty Shot, it was huge news. The WWF's attempt to revive their women's division started with putting the belt on respected wrestler Jacqueline but with the success of Sunny and Sable, two hot blonde bombshells that were pure T&A, lead to them bringing in more women to feature in magazine spreads such as Debra, Ivory, Tori and Trish Stratus-simply lucking out that some of them were or would become respected wrestlers. Thus the WWE Divas were born.
After WWE trademarked its female performers with the name 'Divas', other promotions started coming up with names for their women too. Ultimate Pro Wrestling had "Vixens", which WWE itself adopted for it's "ECW" brand where UPW "vixen" Ariel was a feature. TNA notably had the Knockouts, Ring of Honour's toyed with a Women of Honour concept, nCw had their Femme Fatales etc.
Chyna was presented as an anti-diva who competed with the men and won the Intercontinental title three times. Over the next few years there was a lot more emphasis on talent over looks in women's wrestling in wrestlers such as Lita, Molly Holly and Jazz being pushed to the top of the division. Trish Stratus as well who started out as eye candy but worked to improve her wrestling and did so to the point Vince was able to make her the face of the division for several years.
The Apocalypse Wrestling Federation began running shows focused on its women's division, "Girls Night Out" in 1999. This most obviously inspired regional rival Norther Championship Wrestling but before nCw's Femme Fatales spinoff there was also AAA's Reina De Reinas(which has since become a title belt defended outside of the event. AAA technically did it first by two months too but didn't put women in the main event until after AWF put Sherri Martel at the top of the card), All Pro Wrestling's Chick Fight(which split off on its own for a time) and IWA Mid-South's Volcano Girls(which was phased out for Queen Of The Death Matches).
All Star Championship Wrestling, Com Pro Oklahoma and Steel Rage Pro Wrestling all brought out "X Divisions" after TNA got started in 2002.
The whole Diva Search/making models into wrestlers initiative from WWE that followed said golden era for the Divas was actually a result of Trish's success at taking levels in badass.
For two companies that have been direct rivals as long as All Japan Pro Wrestling and New Japan Pro-Wrestling, the two actually don't seem to pay too close attention to each other. For example, All Japan tried to start bringing in "mixed martial artists" and booking such bouts after New Japan did, even though the fiasco shamed Antonio Inoki out of the company. The end result was "Wrestle-1" breaking away from All Japan as it's own company. New Japan's acquisition and heavy push of Brock Lesnar also ignored that All Japan doing similar with Bill Goldberg was mostly a failed experiment.
TNA began creating PPV events centered around specific gimmick matches (eg. "Lockdown" a PPV that had all cage matches on the card) so WWE started releasing gimmick PPVs such as "Extreme Rules" (every match is a different gimmick match), "TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs" (featured a ladder match, table match, chair match and TLC match among others) and "Night of Champions" (every title is on the line). This arguably started years earlier with WCW and their annual Uncensored PPV. Like Extreme Rules, every match on the card had a gimmick. TNA cannot take credit for originality here, though it can still say WWE followed its lead for a change.
In 2008, John Morrison and The Miz debuted an online talk show on WWE.com known as The Dirt Sheet. This program was instrumental in getting the tag team over and showcasing their personalities, and also generated quite a few hits on the site. Within weeks, other online shows started appearing from the likes of Cryme Tyme, Matt Striker, and Scotty Goldman. The only one that lasted longer than a couple weeks was Cryme Tyme's Word Up, which resulted in a feud between the two tag teams. In 2011, lightning struck again, as the success of Zack Ryder's Youtube series, Z! True Long Island Story, led to a number of other underutilized wrestlers starting their own Youtube accounts, including Ryder's former tag-team partner, Curt Hawkins (which WWE quickly killed).
In a very odd example, Juggalo Championship Wrestling decided to book reality television "star" Angelina Pivarnick after she consistently generated the lowest rated segments of the TNA Impact episodes she appeared on.
After the success of The Nexus, WWE attempted to duplicate that success with the rookies of NXT season 2. To say it didn't work out that time would be an enormous Understatement.
WSU and SHIMMER were the primary all-women's promotions in North America in the late 2000s. Upon WSU's success with internet PPV - allowing them to do regular live shows streamed over the internet - other promotions followed suit, most obviously PWS spinoff BLOW, which ran with the main PWS card directly against the WSU/CZW double features. SHINE Wrestling was a spin-off of SHIMMER that ran monthly iPPVs, and others such as nCw Femme Fatales, WILD Wrestling, Bellatrix and Pro Wrestling: EVE popped up in The New '10s.
Total Divas's success led to WWE producing more reality shows featuring its performers on the WWE Network - such as Legends House, Breaking Ground, WWE 24/7 and the revival of WWE Tough Enough.
Since the late 2000s, WWE has become obsessed with creating female tag teams of Alpha Bitches that evoked Mean Girls. Although the earliest tag team of the archetype was on the independent circuit as The Minnesota Homewrecking Crew, the Mean Girls element came directly from Team Blondage, one of which got a WWF tryout and another a developmental deal. The Beautiful People in TNA beat any WWE examples to television and thus were the first mainstream examples, founded on two of Team Blondage's rivals no less. WWE introduced their version in LayCool. Since then, WWE has often had other female performers change their gimmicks to be more in line with the LayCool archetypes - prissy Alpha Bitches who mocked everyone else's looks and had quite a bit of Les Yay with each other. The Bella Twins (who did this twice), the Divas of Doom, the Beautiful Fierce Females and eventually the Iconic Duo followed suit. Madison Rayne and Gail Kim's random pairing in TNA circa 2011 was also rather obviously inspired by the formula too.